It is with great pleasure that BAFA NL can now announce the successful associate teams for 2016 League entry
For the 2016 Season the National League is expanding by three teams, with Berkshire Renegades, Maidstone Pumas & Jurassic Coast Raptors
Each of the above teams have completed their full requirements to join the NL, set out by BAFA NL Management.
Berkshire were understandably rocked last March, when it became clear that they would not be able to field a team in 2015.
The team had to withdraw from Southern Premiership, after a number of years competing at that level.
They set about the task for re-entry with a focus on Youth, Junior and development of players, not just playing the games, but also working out with other BAFA NL teams in special training and development days.
Their progress was aided by good recruitment, whilst also maintaining a good squad from Pre-season and then continued to work hard all summer.
We look forward to Berkshire returning for 2016 Season, and with their renewed and re-energised approach.
Maidstone Pumas have seen a new committee and coaching team built to lead them and the development for Youth football in their area has been impressive to see.
It is great to see them develop themselves from within first. Maidstone have been running their SOUTH EAST YOUTH AMERICAN FOOTBALL (SEYAF) behind the hard work of Ian Miles & Ted Smith, and now under the new direction of Chairman Mark Lawrence, the Pumas are ready to return to SFC2 competition.
The team has had a very good associate process, and played as many games as they could arrange, to get their team and players ready. I know there will be a number of current and future associate teams that will be thanking the Pumas and HC Olly Dracup for all the help and opportunities to play games.
Finally the last Associate team for 2016 entry is Jurassic Coast Raptors, playing out of Weymouth, Dorset.
This is a new team, led by an original dedicated bunch of Britball players. The team didn’t rush its associate process, and opted to take 2015 as second year of development. We have seen them run multiple recruitment events throughout the year to continually grow their squad.
And they have given their players plenty of practice, scrimmages, friendly games and associates games to get them ready. It has been a pleasure seeing Andy Elliott and Billy Heinrich build the team over the past 18 months, and we have no doubt that the Raptors have built very strong foundations to continue to grow from!
So with the announcements set, that completes the 2016 League entry.
We would also like to ensure the growth of the league is fully supported, and when we release the 2016 NL Schedule we will clearly build in dates for future associate games, so it is easier to schedule between NL & BUCS Seasons.
As stated in my last league email, we did confirm that NFC 2 & SFC 2 may need a slight re-shuffles of conferences to make regional sense, following promotion/relegation plus adding the new teams as well.
Please find below the new structure for Division Two
With Manchester & West Coast moving up to Divisions 1, the geographic re-shuffle was needed in NFC 2.
Within SFC 2 the opportunity was available to remain as similar to 2015 as possible, but this was really down to how the geography of new/relegated teams worked out.
This Confirmation of SFC 2 now clarifies that the Bristol Apache are remaining in Div 2, after their most successful NL season in 2015. BAFA NL Management have been clear with how the Apache have been set up, and that they are run as a Bristol development team. This was part of their original Associate process when they first joined the league.
Bristol Apache & myself felt that due to the high turnover that each Apache team faces, plus key retirements from some of their old guard, it is not in the best interests for them to be promoted by rule only.
Peter Jones (Bristol Chairman) confirmed: “There is certainly no aim to build a division 2 powerhouse to dominate the region, we are genuinely developing players in the way to progress Bristol football as a whole, and every year guys graduate to Aztecs”. He continued “We continue to recruit BACL/ local university players & pure rookies, and access to the sport at its lowest level, and development and maintenance of or our pathway is crucially important to us.”
To add some clarity on the Leagues part, during the 2015 season, it was clear to us, that with Berkshire dropping out of the Southern Premiership, that BAFA NL would have a decision to make to ensure our new league structure could be maintained.
We all agree that the most important element, we all crave is some stability with league structure.
We remain dedicated to this, and that is why slight re-shuffles have been put in place, in an attempt to strengthen the overall levels within NL as a whole.
Our first approach was to speak to as many SFC 1 GMs & HCs as possible, about all Promotion and Relegation scenarios. Then once we reached the closing stages of the SFC 2 playoffs, the discussion was opened up to the four semi-final teams within SFC 2.
We made sure nothing would distract from the teams preparations, but also wanted to make sure that teams understood that performance and development would also play a part in how the 2016 would be structured.
The next step now is finalising the 2016 League Schedules.
We would like to thank the teams that have confirmed their Venue availability, and we are just locking those dates into the schedule now.
You can all start to expect further communications soon, and the Premiership Schedule will be out first.
We can confirm the opening weekend for BAFA NL Season on 10th April 2016.
We plan for a 15 week season for Premiership & Division One, whilst Division Two will be played over 18 weeks.
Britbowl XXX is now set for Saturday 27th August 2016, with Div 1 Championship game planned for Sunday 28th August 2016
We expect NFC 2 & SFC 2 Bowls to be played on the weekend 10/11th Sept 2016.
BAFA have also set aside 2nd & 3rd April for the BAFRA convention and then 27th to 29th May 2016 for the BAFCA Convention, so no BAFA games will be sanctioned for these weekends.
We hope you are getting excited as we are, as 2016 approaches! Finally we would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.